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Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 5)

Last month was National Letter Writing month. And each day for the entire month, I sent out at least one letter a day in a hand decorated envelope. Here is what I sent out last week.

This note and envelope went to Sequoia for day 26 of National Letter Writing Month.

This note and envelope went to Sequoia for day 26 of National Letter Writing Month.

Sequoia’s envelope was hand delivered, so I didn’t have to worry about US Postal Service requirements. I didn’t have to put an address on the envelope or put a stamp on it.

This is the back of Sequoia's envelope for day 26 of National Letter Writing Month.

This is the back of Sequoia’s envelope for day 26 of National Letter Writing Month.

Here is the reverse side of Sequoia’s envelope. It’s on of my origami envelopes. More information is on my post: DIY Origami Envelope. These envelopes are fun to make with a square of paper.

This letter and envelope was sent to Jackie for day 27 of National Letter Writing Month. The keyboard is washi tape.

This letter and envelope was sent to Jackie for day 27 of National Letter Writing Month. The keyboard is washi tape.

Jackie is a retired music teacher. She plays the piano and accordion and a myriad of other instruments. I found keyboard washi tape in Portland last fall and have been waiting for the perfect time to put it on an envelope.

This letter and envelope went to Janet for day 28 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Janet for day 28 of National Letter Writing Month.

Janet has written me a number of letters and I wanted to send her one. I’ve been meaning to for some time, so National Letter Writing month was just the perfect push to get me to send her a letter.

This letter and birthday greetings went to Gaea for day 29 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and birthday greetings went to Gaea for day 29 of National Letter Writing Month.

Gaea asked for a letter, and since her birthday is at the end of April, I wanted to make it into a birthday card/letter. Notice “Happy Birthday Gaea” around the flower on the envelope and around the card. I had fun with thinking how make this envelope.

This letter and envelope was sent to Angela for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope was sent to Angela for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

By the time the end of the month came around, I found I had promised a few more letters than there were days left in the month. So, I sent out 3 letters on the last day of April.

This letter and envelope was sent to Rachel for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope was sent to Rachel for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

It was a happy month of making envelopes, trying to figure out a way to make matching stationery, and writing lots of letters. I’m now starting to get a bunch of lovely letters from my friends, old and new.

This letter and envelope was sent to Paula for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope was sent to Paula for day 30 of National Letter Writing Month.

Paula was the last person I promised a letter to for National Letter Writing Month. I do have, however, a list of more people I want to send letters to. So, I’ll still be sending out letters this month, but they’ll go out at a slower pace.

Happy Letter Writing, Candy

DIY – Square Envelope Made From Paper Circles

I had a bunch of donated paper shopping bags of various sizes left over from the Arts, Crafts and Collectibles Sale I managed last fall. I wanted to find some use for them. I had seen where someone made square envelopes from 4 paper circles and decided that would be a great use for these bags.

Square paper envelope (above right) made from Coldwater Creek paper bag.

Square paper envelope (above right) made from four paper circles cut from a Coldwater Creek paper shopping bag.

Cutting circles out of different portions of the bag made it possible for me to use specific portions of the bag where I like the pattern.

I used an old CD as my template to cut circles out of my paper bags to make my envelopes.

I used an old CD as my template to cut circles out of my paper bags to make my envelopes.

While the circles can be of any size, I used an old CD as my template. It’s something most people have access to, so I decided to use it for my template.

Four paper circles are folded in half, then intertwined like you would to close a box lid. I used a piece of removable tape to keep the circles in place before turning it over for gluing.

Four paper circles are folded in half, then intertwined like you would to close a box lid. I used a piece of removable tape to keep the circles in place before turning it over for gluing.

Fold the circles in half, then position them (one flap over and one flap under all around to make the square). I found I had to adjust the folded circles a bit to make them form a square. I put a piece of removable tape on the center (see above photo) to hold it in place before gluing.

Turn the envelope over and glue under each of the four flaps.

Turn the envelope over and glue under each of the four flaps.

Turn the envelope over and glue under each of the four flaps as shown in the above photo. Any glue will work for this. Just be careful to use just a little bit for thin papers so it doesn’t crinkle the paper.

Square envelope made from paper circles.

Square envelope made from four paper circles cut from a paper gift bag. In order to use this bag, I had a couple of holes in my circles from where the handles were. I just made sure they were on the inside of the folding, so they wouldn’t show.

These envelopes are easy to do. As with most projects, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but after making a couple of these envelopes, they go really fast.

Square envelope made from four circles cut out of a Happy Birthday gift bag. You notice the word "birthday" showing on the top left envelope flap.

Square envelope made from four circles cut out of a Happy Birthday gift bag. Notice the word “birthday” showing on the top left envelope flap. I cut out my circles to make sure it would show.

Position the CD before cutting to get the best possible pattern from the bag.

Square envelope made four circles cut from a Coldwater Creek shopping bag.

Square envelope made four circles cut from a Coldwater Creek shopping bag.

While I used old gift bags, these envelopes can be made from any paper. Scrapbooking paper or paste paper will work fine.

Square envelope made from four paper circles cut from a gift bag.

Square envelope made from four paper circles cut from a gift bag.

A really fun children’s project would be to use portions of drawings or paintings made by children. The circles could be larger or smaller, depending on what you wanted to put in the envelope.

Square envelope made from four circles cut from a white gift bag that someone had sprayed with color and spray webbing.

Square envelope made from four circles cut from a white gift bag that someone had sprayed with color and spray webbing.

This was a fun project. I love it when I can recycle or upcycle to make something new from something that was going to be discarded.

Five square envelopes made from circles cut from old gift bags.

Five square envelopes made from circles cut from old gift bags.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 4)

I’ve been having a fun time designing matching envelopes and stationery this month. I’ve been sending out at least one letter a day in a hand decorated envelope in honor of April being National Letter Writing Month. These are the envelopes I sent out last week.

I sent Lilli this envelope and stationery for day 19 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Lilli for day 19 of National Letter Writing Month.

I sent Lilli a paste paper envelope last year, so I wanted to send her a different type of envelope this year.

This letter and envelope went to Shelly for day 20 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Shelly for day 20 of National Letter Writing Month.

Shelly (above) and Leanne (below) are participants in the Letters of Joy Envelope Exchange. I like the way both of these envelopes and matching stationery came out.

This letter and envelope went to Leanne for day 21 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Leanne for day 21 of National Letter Writing Month.

It’s been fun to exchange envelopes with others around the country and sometimes around the world. I’ve been in numerous envelope exchanges and they really are lots of fun. I’ve made a number of new pen pals and friends.

This letter and two envelopes went to Diane for day 22 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and two envelopes went to Diane for day 22 of National Letter Writing Month.

Diane does the most wonderful iris folding using both oriental papers and old kimono fabric. I wanted to send her an envelope that had a Japanese feel to it. So I put her letter into an origami envelope and put the envelope into a translucent envelope so you could see the detail of the paste paper and the folded origami envelope inside. I used colors to go with the wonderful cherry blossoms on the stamp. I really like the way it came together. Sometimes my ideas work the first time around.

This letter and envelope went to Eric, in France, for day 23 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Eric, in France, for day 23 of National Letter Writing Month.

I have exchanged a number of pieces of mail art with Eric over the years. He lives in France and has pen pals all over the world. He has a blog: My Mail Art World. Check it out to see lots of creative envelopes and art.

This letter and envelope went to Sharon for day 24 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Sharon for day 24 of National Letter Writing Month.

My dear friend, Sharon, used to live just down the street from me. We would get together at least once a week. She moved to Portland nearly 4 years ago and I miss her dearly. We stay in touch via phone and snail mail, and an occasional visit. I sent her letter in this envelope made from one of my paste papers.

This letter and envelope went to Susan for day 25 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Susan for day 25 of National Letter Writing Month.

I have not yet met Susan, even though we’ve been exchanging decorated envelopes and calligraphy for some time. She’s on the East Coast and I’m on the West Coast. Maybe some day we’ll manage to meet in person. Meanwhile, our mail goes back and forth across the country.

To see the envelopes I sent out in other weeks see:
National Letter Writing Month – Week 1
National Letter  Writing Month – Week 2
National Letter Writing Month – Week 3

Happy letter writing, Candy

DIY Origami Envelope

These origami envelopes, made from a square piece of paper, were showcased, along with both a diagram and video instructions, on Paula Beardell Krieg’s blog, Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works. She told me my envelopes for National Letter Writing Month were her inspiration.

These origami envelopes were each made from a square piece of paper.

These origami envelopes were each made from a square piece of paper.

Well, naturally, I had to try making these wonderful envelopes. And while they will not be able to be sent through the mail, they make lovely envelopes for enclosure cards and notes and gift cards and more.

Thanks to Paula Beardell Krieg for introducing me to these origami envelopes.

Thanks to Paula Beardell Krieg for introducing me to these origami envelopes.

For my envelopes, I started with an 8″ square piece of paper. You can use any size square for your envelope. An 8″ square will make an envelope approximately 3.5″ by 5.75″. That’s what I used to make all the envelopes shown in this blog post.

These origami envelopes are addictive. They are easy after you get the hang of the folding.

These origami envelopes are addictive. They are easy after you get the hang of the folding them.

Those of you who read my blog regularly, know I love making paste papers. Since I never know what I am going to want to make and what weight paper I’ll be wanting to use, I scan my paste papers so I can use them for a variety of projects. And that’s exactly what I did for these origami envelopes.

You can make these origami envelopes either a square or pointed tip for the envelope flat to fit behind.

You can make these origami envelopes with either a square or pointed tip for the envelope flat to fit behind.

I found that 20# bond paper (regular photocopy paper) was my preferred paper for folding these origami envelopes. So, I printed my paste paper designs on photocopy paper. They folded easily once I got the hang of folding them. I did make a mess of my first two, but it went smoothly from then on.

These origami envelopes are fun to make and quite addictive, too.

These origami envelopes are fun to make and quite addictive, too.

Instructions, both a diagram and a video, are on Paula Beardall Krieg’s blog: Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works. Thanks, Paula, for the wonderful instructions.

Happy folding, Candy

 

 

 

Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 3)

As those of you who have been following my blog know, I’ve been sending a letter in a hand decorated envelope every day this month in a challenge to myself because April is National Card & Letter Writing Month. These are the envelopes and matching stationery I sent out this past week.

This paste paper envelope and matching stationery went to Phawnda.

This paste paper envelope and matching stationery went to Phawnda for day 13 of National Letter Writing Month.

Phawnda is a fellow calligrapher who does some amazing calligraphy. You can see some of her work on Phawnda’s Facebook page: https: www.facebook.com/calligraphyanddesignbyphawnda

This is the card and envelope I sent my long time friend, Marge.

This is the card and envelope I sent my long time friend, Marge, for day 12 of National Letter Writing Month.

Marge is an artist friend of mine. I decided to send her one of my oops! envelopes. I spilled two drops of ink on the envelope. I wanted Marge to remember that I’m not perfect! This is one of the reasons I love making and sending hand decorated envelopes, they don’t need to be perfect because they’re “just” envelopes. I tend to be a perfectionist, but I don’t worry about that when I make envelopes because they’re going to get mashed by the postal service anyway.

This card and envelope went to Alyce, one of my blog subscribers.

This card and envelope went to Alyce, one of my blog subscribers, for day 14 of National Letter Writing Month.

This card and envelope went to Alyce. I love how the Copic markers blend together on this flower envelope. I’ve been asked where the address goes. Well, it just wraps around the petal of the flower that has Alyce’s name.

This letter and envelope went to Karen.

This letter and envelope went to Karen for day 15 of National Letter Writing Month.

Karen is one of my envelope exchange buddies. Above is the card and envelope I sent her. I love how the center of the flower almost glows.

This card and envelope went to Marilynne.

This card and envelope went to Marilynne for day 16 of National Letter Writing Month.

Marilyn was in a car accident. She’s finally home after a stay in the hospital followed by rehabilitation. I wanted to send her something fancy. My copperplate needs more practice, but I thought she’d appreciate my attempt.

This card and envelope went to Finnbadger (aka Phillip) for day 17 of National Letter Writing Month.

This card and envelope went to Finnbadger (aka Phillip) for day 17 of National Letter Writing Month.

I’ve been in a number of envelope exchanges with Phillip, aka Finnbadger. He has a blog where you can see some of his envelopes: www.envelope100.blogspot.com

This card and envelope went to Abbey for day 18 of National Letter Writing Month.

This card and envelope went to Abbey for day 18 of National Letter Writing Month.

I should have used my Slide Writer Laser Liner for Abbey’s name on the stationery. I must remember – this is just a letter and I don’t need it to be perfect.

To see the envelopes I sent out in other weeks see:
National Letter Writing Month – Week 1
National Letter  Writing Month – Week 2

Happy letter writing, Candy

 

DIY Flower Envelopes – The Process

I’ve been sharing photos of the envelopes and matching stationery I’ve been making during this April’s National Letter Writing Month. Like last year, I’m writing at least one letter a day for the entire month of April. Many of my envelopes are my flower envelopes and I’ve received numerous requests to share how I make them.

One of several flower envelopes that will be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

This flower envelope will be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

While I showed the process last year when I started making these flower envelopes, I decided to share the information again. Below is the actual progress of one of my envelopes.

These 15 photos show the evolution of a single flower envelope. For this envelope I decided to see what I could do with I had a black background. I like the result.

These 15 photos show the evolution of a single flower envelope. For this envelope I decided to see what I could do with I had a black background. I like the result.

I try and vary something with each envelope I make. For the above envelope, I wanted to see how a flower would look with a black background.

I love how this flower envelope seems to glow.

I love how this flower envelope seems to glow.

Each time I get a new Copic marker, I try it out to see how it will look as a background for one of my flower envelopes.

I spilled gold acrylic ink on this envelope after I had colored the background, but not the flower. I wiped the gold paint evenly over the entire envelope and it developed a wonderful patina. It even showed through after I painted the flower petals. Happy accident!

I spilled gold acrylic ink on this envelope after I had colored the background, but not the flower. I wiped the gold paint evenly over the entire envelope and it developed a wonderful patina. Happy Accident!

The gold sparkle on the above “Happy Accident” flower envelope doesn’t show on the photo above, but it looks marvelous. I hate to part with this one. I am going to create a similar one before I put this in the mail.

I love experimenting with colors I would not normally use together as in this flower envelope.

I love experimenting with colors I would not normally use together as in this flower envelope.

One of the great things about playing with these envelopes is that I can experiment with unusual (for me) color combinations. The above envelope has a violet that looks a bit gray. I would never put that color with a peachy color, but somehow it works. I never would have known without experimenting.

Another flower envelope that will go in the mail tomorrow.

Another flower envelope that will go in the mail tomorrow.

Believe it or not, the two flower envelopes above have same background. It’s amazing how colors look different depending on the colors around them.

Purple, orange, pink and blue? I just had to try this unusual combination and I like it for this flower envelope.

Purple, orange, pink and blue? I just had to try this unusual combination and I like it for this flower envelope.

Because envelopes aren’t works of art that I put a frame on, I feel the freedom to experiment and play more than when I am trying to make a finished piece of art.

Here I tried having the background petals darker and the foreground petals lighter. I did the opposite on Kate's and Karen's flower envelopes.

Here I tried having the background petals darker and the foreground petals lighter. I did the opposite on Kate’s and Karen’s flower envelopes.

I have eleven envelopes going out by this weekend as part of an envelope exchange. It’s been fun to play with so many different ideas.

This flower envelope will need more stamps as it is going to France.

This flower envelope will need more stamps as it is going to France.

I still have a log list of people I want to write to, so I am sure I will be making more flower envelopes for quite a while. It’s so much fun (even though they usually take 2 to 3 hours each to make).

This is my demonstration envelope ready to go out in the mail. The address will be written in white.

This is my demonstration envelope ready to go out in the mail. The address will be written in white.

To see more of my envelopes, check out these blog posts:
Studio Snapshot – Flower Envelope Series
Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 1)
Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 2)

Enjoy, Candy

Weird Year

Greetings!  Its been a weird year.  Could it be because I started out with a proud proclamation of big goals?  I had great intentions of doing a painting every day.

Weird Year; Study: Watercolor Tube & Paint Bottle

And, then, mid-January hit.  A close family member became ill.  And then…and then…and well, then other things happened.  Its been stressful.  Here I am and its almost mid April.  My best intentions and goals seem to be derailed.

But, I’m still painting.  I’m still plugging away at my goal.  Every day I pick up my pencil.  I have missed a few days with the paint brush.  As soon as I can, I get back to it.  Goals have just been sidelined, not totally disregarded.

I think my intention of doing a painting every day was a good one.  That I have not been able to complete one every day doesn’t mean the idea was bad.  Perhaps with this type of year, I need to take things one day at a time and just keep plugging away at it.

Do you have strategies for times when external factors call for your attention to be somewhere other than the studio?  And, when you get back to the studio, what then?

Since its been that type of year, I think I’ll upload one of my latest studies and make sure I have a posting!

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The post Weird Year appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 2)

If you have been following my blog, you know that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. I have challenged myself to send at least one letter a day, in an envelope I have decorated, for the entire month. Here is what I sent out this past week.

This letter and envelope went to Martha for day 5 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Martha for day 5 of National Letter Writing Month.

Martha is one of the people in an envelope exchange I am participating in. I need to send my exchange envelopes out by the end of the month. My challenge to send a letter and envelope a day is a perfect reminder to get these envelopes in the mail.

This letter and envelope went to Sallie for day 6 of National Letter Writing Month.

This letter and envelope went to Sallie for day 6 of National Letter Writing Month.

Sallie is a friend I met through my blog. Last year she even made me a wonderful breakfast before I went to a Calligrapher’s Conference that was in the town she lives in.

My envelope and letter for day 7 of National Letter Writing Month went to another Sally, also in Washington.

My envelope and letter for day 7 of National Letter Writing Month went to another Sally, also in Washington.

Sally is a friend I met at a calligraphy conference many years ago. We still keep in touch.

This envelope and note (along with the banana bread) went to Gayle for day 8 of National Letter Writing Month.

This envelope and note (along with the banana bread) went to Gayle for day 8 of National Letter Writing Month.

My friend, Gayle, just had surgery. I hand delivered her get well soon letter as well as the banana bread.

My letter and envelope for day 9 of National Letter Writing Month goes to Jean, not Joan as I misspelled her name on the envelope.

My letter and envelope for day 9 of National Letter Writing Month goes to Jean, not Joan as I misspelled her name on the envelope.

If you’re a calligrapher, you’ll understand. We calligraphers concentrate on getting our letters “just so.” So much so that we tend to not think about the spelling. That’s exactly what happened here. This letter and envelope went to Jean, not Joan, Wilson. Since Jean is a calligrapher, I’m sure she’ll understand, so I sent it the way I addressed it.

My letter and envelope for day 10 of National Letter Writing Month went to Sophia.

My letter and envelope for day 10 of National Letter Writing Month went to Sophia.

Sophia is a friend who loves purple. So, I just had to send her an envelope with her name in purple.

My letter and envelope for day 11 of National Letter Writing Month went to Hans.

My letter and envelope for day 11 of National Letter Writing Month went to Hans.

Hans, like Martha, is one of the participants in my envelope exchange.

To see the envelopes I sent out in week one and later see:
National Letter Writing Month – Week 1
National Letter Writing Month – Week 3

Happy Letter Writing, Candy

Tips & Tools – Slider Writer Laser Liner Review

This past Thanksgiving, I purchased a gift for myself, a tool called the Slide Writer. It’s a tool that makes a line with a laser light. I tried it out when I first got it, then forgot about it.

The Slide Writer uses a laser light as a visible line on which to write.

The Slide Writer uses a laser light as a visible line on which to write.

Now, after realizing that my calligraphy for my envelopes was sloping a bit, I pulled it out and tried it out again. I love it! It’s perfect for getting my calligraphy straight on my envelopes!

I can slide the laser up and down and align it with the ruler on the right.

I can slide the laser up and down and align it with the ruler on the right.

I really don’t like drawing pencil lines on my envelopes. Sometimes my ink smears when I erase. When I use a colored brush on ink, the pencil lines still show. But now, it’s super easy to write in a straight line.

The light isn't quite as bright on the right side of the envelope, but it's quite visible in person. I had no problem seeing it and writing in a straight line.

The light isn’t quite as bright on the right side of the envelope, but it’s actually quite visible. I had no problem seeing it and writing in a straight line.

For anyone interested in purchasing one, I bought mine through Paper & Ink Arts. It is also available through John Neal Bookseller.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – National Letter Writing Month (week 1)

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. I am challenging myself to send at least one letter a day, in an envelope I have decorated, for the month of April. Here is what I have sent out so far this month.

This envelope and letter went out to Betsy on April 1.

This envelope and letter went out to Betsy on April 1.

Betsy moved into her new digs on April 1st. I hope my letter is the first one she receives at her new address. Moving is very stressful, so hopefully this will life her spirits while she is unpacking.

My letter and envelope for day 2 of National Letter Writing Month goes to Miles.

My letter and envelope for day 2 of National Letter Writing Month goes to Miles.

I’ve owed my mail art and pen pal, Miles, a letter an envelope for a few months now. Hopefully I can use this month to get caught up on mail art to many of my friends as well as some to new ones as well.

This is what I send to Natalie for day 3 of National Card and Letter Writing Month.

This is what I send to Natalie for day 3 of National Card and Letter Writing Month.

Natalie, like me, makes paste papers. She requested I send her something made from paste paper. The design on the paste paper I used for the envelope is decorated with a stamp (in this case a.k.a. a toilet paper roll center). I then pasted 1″ squares of paste papers to the side of my letter.

Today's letter and envelope goes to Angel, who is one of the people in my envelope exchange from Letters of Joy.

Today’s letter and envelope goes to Angel, who is one of the people in my envelope exchange from Letters of Joy.

I am happily playing catch up with my envelope exchange from Letters of Joy. I still have a couple of weeks before I would be labeled “late”, so the challenge to myself for sending a letter and envelope a day this month is helping keep me on track.

This is what I have sent out in later weeks:
National Letter Writing Month – Week 2
National Letter Writing Month – Week 3

Happy letter writing, Candy